Free and Green Activities for Families


When it comes to family time, green activities allow you to go casual instead of commercial, and feed your children’s need for nature while you’re at it. Here’s one cliché well worth believing and embracing: the best things in life-and childhood-truly are free.

Create seasonal traditions. Make a commitment to celebrating the seasons by choosing at least one tradition, per season, to enjoy as a family. With ideas like snowshoeing on New Year’s Eve, camping on Labor Day, and leaf-raking with a s’mores party in the fall, the options are endless.

Take advantage of free days. Check out places like local parks and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum for their schedule of free admissions and family activities.

Join the harvest. Local apple orchards, berry farms, and many Community Supported Agriculture co-ops offer pick-your-own opportunities for members and the public. The only cost is what you pay for the healthy and delicious food you eat!

Get into bird watching. It’s a perfect activity for any season. Keep journals, complete with sketches, and compare notes.

Grow a garden together. From planning to weeding to enjoying the fruits of your labors together, this is one project that your children will always remember.

Take a family hike. Strap on the snowshoes, rain boots, or full mud-worthy ensemble. Encourage observation, exploration, mess, and exuberance. (Just bring a change of clothes!)

Do some backyard camping. The National Wildlife Federation sponsors the Great American Backyard Campout every year.

Have a picnic in the park. Get everybody in on the planning and packing.

Lie down on the grass together and watch the clouds. Sometimes the simplest is the most rewarding. 

Green Family Activities

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